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BelarusAlexander Lukashenko
President

(JPEG) President Lukashenko’s record since his election in 1994 is grim. His March 2006 reelection with more than 80 per cent of the vote was a good example of how ruthlessly the former state-farm manager runs the country. Foreign journalists were deported during the campaign, while Belarusian journalists were brutally arrested. The independent media have been virtually eliminated and the government monopoly of printing and distribution facilities makes it easy to crush any attempt by journalists to defy the authorities. Sometimes the only solution is to go underground, returning to the Soviet era of “samizdats” (clandestine copying and distribution of forbidden material). Copies of independent newspapers were often seized in 2007 and 2008, while activists and journalists alike were arrested prior to opposition demonstrations. According to the state-owned daily Sovietskaya Bielorussiya, the president said he wanted to “put an end to anarchy on the Internet” and cited China’s example. This has fueled fears that the opportunities for free expression online will soon be curtailed.

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Predators
There are instigators and powerful people behind press freedom violations whose responsibility is not always apparent. Whether presidents, ministers, chiefs of staff, religious leaders or the heads of armed groups, these predators of press freedom have the power to censor, imprison, kidnap, torture and, in the worst cases, murder journalists. To better expose them, Reporters Without Borders has produced these portraits.

Armed Islamist groups
Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan
Ilham Aliev
Azerbaijan
Than Shwe
Burma
Hu Jintao
China
Diego Fernando Murillo Bejarano
Colombia
FARC
Colombia
Raúl Castro
Cuba
Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Equatorial Guinea
Issaias Afeworki
Eritrea
Yahya Jammeh
Gambia
Ali Khamenei
Iran
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran
Israeli Defence Forces
Israel
Nursultan Nazarbayev
Kazakhstan
Choummaly Sayasone
Laos
Muammar Gaddafi
Libya
Star Force Police
Maldives
Drug cartels
Mexico
Armed groups
Nepal
State Security Service (SSS)
Nigeria
Kim Jong-il
North Korea
The Executive Force
Palestinian territories, Gaza Strip
Palestinian Security Forces
Palestinian Territories, West Bank
Vladimir Putin
Russia
Paul Kagame
Rwanda
Abdallah Ibn al-Saud
Saudi Arabia
Mohamed Dhere and Mohamed Warsame Darwish
Somalia
Al-Shabaab
Somalia
ETA
Spain
Gotabhaya Rajapakse, Defence secretary
Sri Lanka
Bashar el-Assad
Syria
Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali
Tunisia
Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov
Turkmenistan
Islam Karimov
Uzbekistan
Nong Duc Manh
Vietnam
Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwe